Basic facts about marijuana (cannabis, weed).


Whether you are already a cannabis user, or you are considering using weed. This article can help you answer some basic questions that you have.


Marijuana refers to the dried leaves, stems, flowers, and seeds from the hemp plant Cannabis Sativa. The main active ingredient in marijuana (or cannabis, weed, pot, Mary Jane) is the mind-altering chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC.

Though its legal use is growing for both recreational and medicinal purposes, marijuana is still the most popular illegal drug used in the United States.

Person holding dried marijuana flowers in hand

Street names of cannabis

There are over 200 slang terms for marijuana, including pot, herb, weed, grass, widow, boom, ganja, hash, Mary Jane, cannabis, bubble gum, northern lights, fruity juice, gangster, Afghani #1, skunk, and chronic.

What marijuana / weed / cannabis looks like

Marijuana looks like a shredded, green-brown mix of plant material.

How cannabis is used (taken)

The most common way to take marijuana is to smoke it. Users will roll it into a cigarette ‘joint’, refill an emptied cigar casing to create a ‘blunt’, or smoke it in a pipe or a water pipe ‘bong’.

A newly popular method of use is smoking or eating different forms of THC-rich resins extracted from the marijuana plant.

Cannabis can also be baked into food (edibles), such as brownies, cookies, or candy, or brewed as a tea.

Use and legal status of cannabis

Marijuana is the most common illegal drug used in the United States. According to a national survey on drug use and health from 2016, 44 percent of Americans over the age of 12 have used marijuana.

As of the 2018 midterm elections, 10 states and Washington, DC, have legalized marijuana for recreational use for adults over the age of 21.

Over 30 states have laws on the books legalizing marijuana for medical use only, while several others have only legalized oils with low-THC content. Marijuana is still illegal under federal law.

Effects of cannabis

The membranes of certain nerve cells in the brain contain receptors that bind to THC, kicking off a series of cellular reactions that ultimately lead to the high people experience when they use marijuana.

People use cannabis because it elevates their mood and relaxes them.

People use the drug because it elevates their mood and relaxes them. Depending on the level of THC, users may also experience euphoria, hallucinations, and paranoia.

joints laying on a table

Side effects of cannabis

Some of the common discomforts found when using marijuana include dry mouth, swollen eyelids, bloodshot eyes, loss of coordination, and an accelerated heart rate.

Growing cannabis yourself

Growing a few cannabis plants yourself has a number of advantages.

In the first place, it saves you money in the long run. With some varieties, such as autoflower cannabis, you can even have several harvests a year.

Secondly, you are no longer dependent on a dealer. And that also has to do with perhaps the most important advantage: you know exactly what you get.

If you raise a plant yourself, from seed to harvest, then you know exactly what nutrition (or chemicals) the plant has received. If you buy from a dealer, you don't.

If you grow your own cannabis plant, from seed to harvest, you know exactly what is in the end product. And that is very reassuring.